Iran has condemned an overnight drone attack that targeted a Defense Ministry facility in the city of Isfahan. Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian insisted on Sunday that the strike will not affect the progress the country is making in developing peaceful nuclear energy.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Qatari counterpart in Tehran, Amirabdollahian insisted that acts such as this will not have any impact on Iranian specialists’ “will and intentions” or obstruct their advances in peaceful nuclear energy.
Earlier, the Iranian Defense Ministry said that a military ‘workshop’ in Isfahan was targeted in an attack that resulted in no casualties and caused only minor damage. It is unclear if the facility has anything to do with Tehran’s nuclear program.
Officials will now launch an investigation into the incident. Parliament’s Security and Foreign Policy Committee will discuss the issue with Defense Ministry officials, the committee’s spokesman, Mahmoud Abbaszadeh Meshkini, told Mehr News Agency.
The authorities in the province of Isfahan also launched an investigation, according to Fars News Agency, citing a local official.
The attack, which involved at least three ‘micro drones’, took place late Saturday, according to military officials. One unmanned aerial vehicle was shot down and two others “fell into defensive traps and exploded,” the Iranian Defense Ministry said in a statement, adding that the assault resulted in no casualties and only minor damage.
Iranian social media also reported blasts in various parts of the country at that time, including a major blaze at an oil refinery in the northwestern city of Azarshahr. On Sunday, the nation’s IRNA news agency called the reports about the explosions false.
A senior official in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province, where Azarshahr is located, also told the news agency that a fire was caused by a leak in an oil pipe and had nothing to do with any other incidents. He also said the blaze was extinguished within hours and led to no casualties.
Al Arabiya reported, citing unnamed American sources, that the US Air Force and another nation were involved in the attack. The media outlet also claimed that the drone strike targeted a ballistic missile depot.
The Jerusalem Post cited Western intelligence sources as saying that the attack was “a tremendous success,” contrary to what the Iranian authorities said.
Officials in Tehran have yet to name any suspects.
Israel was behind Sunday morning’s drone strike on an Iranian munitions facility, the Wall Street Journal has reported, citing American officials. The strike, which Iran says it thwarted, came after the US and Israel held a series of meetings and military exercises.
One explosives-laden drone was shot down by an Iranian air defense system while two others crashed into a protective mesh above a military workshop in the city of Isfahan in the early hours of the morning, Iran’s Defense Ministry said.
“This unsuccessful attack did not cause any loss of life and caused minor damage to the workshop’s roof,” the ministry stressed, according to state media outlet IRNA. Tehran did not initially blame the attack on Israel.
However, unnamed US officials and other “people familiar with the operation” told the Wall Street Journal that Israel was responsible for the strike. The Israeli military has not officially confirmed its involvement, in keeping with its usual policy of silence following attacks on foreign targets.
The attack came after CIA Director William Burns made an unannounced visit to Israel last week to discuss Iran. While the specifics of his discussion with his Israeli counterparts are unknown, Gen. Herzi Halevi, the Israel Defense Forces’ chief of staff, told the Wall Street Journal last week that the US and Israel were readying “offensive capabilities” for use against the Islamic Republic.
These “capabilities” were demonstrated last week when the two allies held their largest-ever joint military drills, in which they practiced mid-air refueling and strikes against air-defense systems.
Washington has accused Tehran of supporting Russia’s military operation in Ukraine by supplying ‘kamikaze’ drones. While Russia and Iran officially denied this, both nations have drawn closer together since the Ukrainian conflict began, increasing their trade turnover during 2022 and integrating their bank card systems earlier this month.
Gen. Halevi said that the US and Israel are explicitly aiming to “limit the bad actions that Iran is taking all over the world,” including its “negative contribution” to the conflict in Ukraine.
Sunday’s drone strikes happened amid reports on social media of explosions across the Islamic Republic. A blast occurred at an oil production plant in the northwestern city of Azarshahr in the province of East Azerbaijan, while a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck the province at the same time. The oil plant explosion has not been blamed on foul play.
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